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Based on weighted criteria below
Low Pricing icon

Low Pricing (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

Freshdesk offers 5 princing plans:

Sprout:

$0/agent/month, up to 3 agents
or
$15/agent/month thereafter

Main features include:

Email Support Channel
Standard Phone Channel
Knowledge Base

Blossom:

$16/agent/mo when billed annually
or
$19/agent/mo when billed month-to-month

Main features include:

All Sprout features
Social Support Channels
Community Forums
Game Mechanics

Garden:

$25/agent/mo when billed annually
or
$29/agent/mo when billed month-to-month

Main features include:

All Blossom features
Live Chat Channel
Multiple Products
Multilingual Support

Estate:

$40/agent/mo when billed annually
or
$49/agent/mo when billed month-to-month

Main features include:

All Garden Features
Enterprise Reports
Portal Customization
Custom Agent Roles

Forrest:

$70/agent/mo when billed annually
or
$79/agent/mo when billed month-to-month

Main features include:

All Estate Features
IP Whitelisting
Custom Email Servers
Advanced Phone Channel

24 x 7 email support and 24 x 5 phone support included with all plans.

When you sign up, you get access to all the features in the Freshdesk Estate Plan for a 30-day free trial. No credit card is necessary and there are no cancellation fees. If you cancel, you’ll be billed for the current month. You can upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any time.

Help Scout

Help Scout offers 3 pricing plans:

Free:

Main features include:

1 Mailbox
Beacon
Saved Replies
Help Scout for iPhone
Help Scout branding

Standard:

$20/mo/user

Main features include:

All Free features
5 Mailboxes
1 Docs knowledge base
Reports
Workflows
Satisfaction Ratings

Plus:

$40/mo/user

Main features include:

All Standard features
Unlimited Mailboxes
3 Docs knowledge bases
Teams
Custom Fields
Free inactive Users

Annual payment earns you one month free. You can start with  a 15-day free trial, with no credit card required. For annual billing you'll get a 10% discount.

Design icon

Design (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

Freshdesk's design looks a bit dated but the interface is quite simple.

Your portal can be customized to reflect your brand. You can put up your logo and favicon and paint your self service portal in your brand colors.

Help Scout

Help Scout integrates with your email service, therefore the interface is quite simple and the UI has a clean look and feel.

Features icon

Features (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

Freshdesk lets you create a knowledge base section for your users, and this is one of the most important features of a help desk software.

Some of the most important features are: Help desk Ticketing, Multi-Channel Customer Support, Time Tracking, Built in Knowledge Base, Help desk Automation, Integrated Forums, Multi-product Customer, Support, Reports & Insights, Integrated Game Mechanics, Mobile Friendly App, but for the full list of available features you should check out the Freshdesk homepage.

Help Scout

Helpscout's main features include: shared email inbox for managing tickets, Docs (for building a help center), saved replies, reports, office hours filtering, phone conversations, or voicemail integration.

Help Scout is packed with great features and some of them are only available with the Plus plan. Be sure to check the full list of features before committing to a plan.

Backend Features icon

Backend Features (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

Once you login as an agent and setup your account you'll find the following tabs:

Dashboard: by default it will show the standings for the current month and for all agents.

Tickets: once you have configured your mailbox all your emails are converted into tickets and you can view them under the tickets tab. Here you'll also find tickets from other channels like Facebook, Twitter, or phone.

Social: here you can reply to your brand mentions from your social media accounts.

Solutions: here you can create and edit your articles for your knowledge base.

Forums: here you can setup community forums to give your customers a platform to talk about your product/brand.

Whenever a ticket is created, the requester is automatically added as a contact in your helpdesk. You can see these contacts in the Customers tab.

Reports: here you'll find an overview of all the important metrics.

Admin: under the admin tab you can add or remove agents, configure support channels and configure automation tasks.

Help Scout

The user interface is uncluttered and pretty intuitive.

There are five menu items on the top left side of the screen:

Home: This is where you go when you first login. Once you get started you can add several brands, products or email addresses into your account. These options will appear on the dashboard.

Mailbox: You can support several brands, products or email addresses from a single account. Each mailbox has unique permissions, settings and folders.

Docs: Here you can create up to 5 knowledge base sites so customers can find answers from any device.

Reports: This section will help you keep track of all the important support metrics, employee performance and customer satisfaction.

Team size icon

Team size (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

Because of its flexible pricing Freshdesk is suitable for both small and large businesses. For up to 3 agents it’s completely free if you’re only interested in email support and creating a knowledgebase. On the higher end there are more advanced features available for larger business and teams. Without a doubt it is the most affordable help desk software from our list, especially on the lower end.

Help Scout

Although Help Scout is suitable for small teams because of its pricing and simplicity, the Plus plan offers a feature that will allow you to group users into teams. This way if your business and support team grows you can still keep things simple and organized.

Reports icon

Reports (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

Freshdesk has a strong reports section which gives you an overview of all the important metrics. You can export your data to a CSV whenever you want to create custom reports, free of cost. You also have access to a range of filters that make it easier for you to decide which parameters to export.

Help Scout

The reporting interface is really great.

The reports available (four or five depending if you have Docs installed or not) can be viewed at any time via the Reports dropdown menu.

The Conversations report shows you how much volume you're handling during a certain time period, the Productivity report measures efficiency across the help desk, the Team and User will give you insights about how members of your team are doing.

The Happiness report will show how your team is being rated by customers.

If you have Docs installed, this report will help you understand what your customers are searching for in the knowledge base you have created, and how helpful the information is, as well as what percentage of customers are still sending an email after browsing the knowledge base.

Flexibility icon

Flexibility (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

Freshdesk also offers a builtin chat option (paid separately) and a mobile app (iOS and Android) that lets you reply to tickets, add notes and perform bulk actions on tickets while on the go. A mobile-ready web-based version is also available and can be used to access your helpdesk from any device.

You can even add a support app to your Facebook page from where your customers can raise support tickets.

Help Scout

An iPhone app is available for replies on the go. You can check in on your mailboxes, manage conversations, and share tickets with your team members.

A well-documented APIs is available for developers to create their own integrations.

Right now a live chat option is not available out of the box but you can easily integrate third party apps like Olark, ClickDesk, HipChat, and many more.

Extensibility icon

Extensibility (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

There are around 100 integrations available for Freshdesk, including apps like Zappier, Twitter, Shopify, Salesforce, and Gmail. If your favorite service doesn't have an app yet, you may create your own using the new Freshdesk SDK.

Help Scout

Help Scout has  40 web app integrations available, so you can account with your favorite apps and services like: Talkdesk, FollowUpThen, Hively, Capsule, Nicereply, HipChat, Campfire, Slack, MailChimp, Shopify, Mixpanel, Bigcommerce, Campaign Monitor, KISSmetrics, Infusionsoft, Olark, WooCommerce, Constant Contact, Google Apps Integration

The free plan doesn't give access to integrations.

Support icon

Support (weighted 11%)

Freshdesk

A discussion forum and a huge knowledge base are available where you can explore how-to's and help you getting started with Freshdesk.

In case you need to contact their support team you may open a support ticket via email or a web form. Telephone numbers are available from Monday to Friday for 4 different time zones.

They also offer a cool support glossary where you'll find the definitions of every term you need to know in a helpdesk.

Help Scout

There are more ways in which you may contact their support:

Email: via a direct email address or a web form.
Phone: you may schedule a call with one of their experts.

A decent knowledge base is available (with walkthroughs and video tutorials available) as well as a blog.